John Martyn tribute festival

Thomastown, renowned for its booming music and arts scene, is preparing for the second John Martyn Tribute Festival on September 15 and 16.

Thomastown, renowned for its booming music and arts scene, is preparing for the second John Martyn Tribute Festival on September 15 and 16.

The folk legend’s tribute festival will see the town awash with stellar acts over the weekend as fans and friends descend on the South East to hear performances from the likes of Mik Pyro (Republic of Loose), Leslie Dowdall (In Tua Nua), Mundy, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Deetrich, Ultan Conlon, Philip Donnelly, The Man Whom and more. The most recent additions to the already impressive bill are Galway man Cian Finn and Fife native James Yorkston. All of the acts will be joined by Martyn’s long-time band, who will travel to Thomastown for nearly a week of rehearsals before the festival weekend.

Singer songwriter and fundamental member of the Fence Collective (KT Tunstall, The Beta Band, The Aliens, King Creosote), James Yorkston makes an exciting addition to the festival lineup. Yorkston is a huge John Martyn fan and spent a lot of time with Martyn on tour. Over 10 years ago, Yorkston sent a copy of his single to John looking for a support slot on an upcoming Edinburgh gig Martyn was playing. Consequently, Martyn offered Yorkston a support slot on 27 of his UK and Irish dates in 2002. During the tour, Yorkston was seen by Laurence Bell of Domino Records, who was so impressed that he had a recording contract sent to Yorkston’s lawyer almost immediately. He is now signed to Domino Records and they have just released his seventh album, I Was a Cat from a Book. So, in theory John Martyn played a huge part in James Yorkston’s career.

Festival organiser Eva Lynch says: “We have expanded the festival quite a bit this year. Free live music events will take place all over town in O’Hara’s, Murphy’s, The Bridgebrook Arms, The Salmon Pool, The Sportsman’s and of course the main event taking place in Carroll’s Market Yard on September 15 and 16.”

“The magic about this festival is the acts who will join John’s band are all huge fans of John Martyn, many taking inspiration for their own music from him, some have played with him, recorded with him or supported him on tours so many of them would have, in effect, been chosen by John himself. Our recent addition, James Yorkston, will have many memories from touring with John 10 years ago. We also want to open John’s music up to new audiences and keep the spirit of John’s own musical taste to the forefront,” said Ms Lynch.

Organisers will be announcing the day-by-day lineup today (Wednesday). To find out more and keep up to date with the festival, check out

The John Martyn Tribute Festival takes place in Carroll’s Market Yard, Thomastown.

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